Cliff D'Arcy has taken 15 years to realise he's wedded to the Oracle of Omaha!
It's said of some couples that, like magnets, they are together as the result of 'the attraction of opposites'. It's certain true chez D'Arcy, as my wife and I are like chalk and cheese.
Indeed, we differ in almost every possible way. I'm a chunky six-footer, while she's a petite brunette. I'm an atheist, whereas she's a regular churchgoer. I'm reckless, hot-headed and impulsive, while she's cool, calm and collected.
Nevertheless, we've been a team all of our adult lives and married for 15 years, so we must be doing something right!
My wife, Warren Buffett
What's more, I've reluctantly concluded that, despite my 24 years of market experience, my wife is the better investor. It's simply because she, like Warren Buffett, invests like a girl.
How so? Let me give you some examples:
1. She doesn't trade
One survey of stock-market investors found that men trade 45% more often than women. Frankly, I think this is an underestimate and that men out-trade women far more aggressively than this.
My wife hasn't traded a share in her life. She buys solid businesses, sits back and then waits for the capital gains to come rolling in. While she's waiting, she happily pockets decent dividend income as a reward for her patience.
2. She plays a long game
My spouse rarely (if ever) sells a share once she's bought it. She measures her investing horizon in decades, so doesn't worry about Mr Market's daily pricing pranks. Instead, she buys carefully and then waits to see what happens.
Mrs D'Arcy knows that 'time in the market' beats 'timing the market', so she's a marathon runner, not a sprinter.
3. She doesn't take big risks
For my spouse, investing is all about building long-term wealth, not beating the market.
She's never bought shares on the back of rumours, and doesn't fall for claims that a firm is the 'next big thing'. What's more, she buys mostly blue-chip shares -- members of the elite FTSE 100 index. This may be 'boring', but she's never dropped a six-figure sum on a small-cap share... whereas I have. Oops.
4. She doesn't rush to sell
Amazingly, Mrs D'Arcy still owns some of the first shares she bought way back in 1989, when we were both 21. For the record, these shares are worth 3.4 times what she paid for them, which works out at a compound average growth rate of a mere 5.7% a year.
However, this calculation ignores 22 years of generous dividends. For example, this year's dividend alone equates to 17% of her original buying price, which is a tidy income.
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5. She buys what she understands
My better half isn't tempted by hot high-tech shares, hyped-up wonder-stocks or even -- despite her degree in Medical Biochemistry! -- promising biotech shares.
In truth, she barely buys individual shares at all, because most companies aren't within her 'circle of competence'. Generally, she sticks to two simple approaches: buying discounted shares via employee share schemes, and paying monthly amounts and the odd lump sum into cheap, simple FTSE All-Share index trackers.
6. She admits to ignorance
Buffett is known for his self-deprecating sense of humour, which he uses to puncture his ego. In my experience, this lack of ego is quite unusual among male investors.
Unlike me, my wife isn't awash with self-confidence and, even better, she knows the limits of her knowledge. Hence, she doesn't do anything fancy when it comes to investing. Like Kurt Gödel and his incompleteness theorems, my wife knows there are limits to her knowledge, so she sticks to simple strategies.
7. She ignores share prices
As an experiment, I asked my wife earlier today at what level the FTSE 100 index was. She was unable to answer. What's more, she admitted that she didn't even know her own employer's share price, despite having been online all day (and having worked for this multi-national firm for 22 years).
The honest truth is that, with no plans to buy or sell right now, Mrs D has absolutely no interest in Mr Market's quotes. As a very passive investor, she just keeps investing her spare cash each month and bides her time.
8. She isn't greedy
In the past, my portfolio has been massively more volatile than my wife's. For example, I've made and lost six-figure sums in single days on several occasions. While such big wins made me euphoric, my wife was very much down to earth. Of my huge gains, she would often remark, "Let's see if they last." Quite often, they didn't.
9. She doesn't panic
When the stock market started plunging from mid-2007, my wife shrugged off this slide. Indeed, when I mentioned in March 2009 that the FTSE 100 was plumbing post-2003 depths, she said, "Oh good, I get my bonus in a few days, so it'll buy me a few more shares." Cool as a cucumber, eh?
10.She doesn't fall in love
In many ways, my wife has much better control of her emotions than I do, despite my claim to be the logical one in our relationship. Most importantly, she doesn't fall in love with shares or companies and is quite dispassionate about investing as an art or science. Not for her the 'farm bet' in a darling company, not least because she doubts almost everything directors say.
By the way, my wife seems to have an incredible gift for market timing. On 6 April 1999, she told me to sell all of her shares in her employer, which I decided not to do. As it turned out, that day marked the all-time peak for the share price. Twelve years later, it is still 40% lower. How does she do that?
Download the first chapter of Warren Buffett Invests Like A Girl for free.
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